“No – you can’t take him.”
Jareth regarded the woman – scarcely more than a girl – with neither sympathy nor scorn; it was not yet time for either. “What’s said is said. You cannot now unsay it.”
She took a daring step forward, hand stretched toward the child in Jareth’s arms. “I didn’t mean it.”
“Didn’t you? A screaming child in exchange for your dreams: surely the choice is obvious.” He said it carefully, each word receiving the same inflection, but his fingers curled possessively against the baby’s spine.
“I – ” she hesitated. “What would happen to Isaac?”
The baby gurgled happily, oblivious to how tenuous his position was. “No harm will come to him, whatever your decision.” This, at least, was the bare truth, as far as it lay within Jareth’s power.
“And my dreams?” She wet her lips nervously, hand still half-extended. But her eyes were now on the crystal Jareth held out to her. “What harm will come to me? I have heard of your kind and the tricks you play.”
“No harm from me or mine. Your dreams are your own: all I do is give them to you in a more tangible form.” He withdrew his hand and the temptations it held; she made a small noise of protest. “Only a fool would think twice about what I’m offering you.”
“Yes,” she breathed, and reached for the crystal, no longer having eyes for her child. “Give them to me.” He handed her what she wanted, and she clung to it with the ferocity of some wild animal protecting her young.
Isaac whimpered at Jareth’s movement and Jareth shifted him with the easy grace born of practice. “Then the child is mine?”
Eyes still fixed on what was hidden in the depths of the crystal, she waved at him carelessly. “Take him. I’m no fool.”
“But you are,” Jareth said, emotionless. “Otherwise you never would have even considered my offer.” And now Isaac wailed, but his mother never looked up, lost in something only she could see. His new guardian whispered soothing words to him, and with one last look at the dreamer went home to a queen who had been proven wise.